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FAN FAILURE


We saw during the peak of the COVID Pandemic that the absence of fans at matches rendered football totally soulless.

 

You would think that because of that those running the game and the clubs at all levels would do everything they could to show they appreciate those who are the lifeblood of the game. Put simply, fans are currently the last consideration of those in power.

 

If you look at the VAR system, more often than not big fans are left in the dark as to why a particular decision has been made and communication with fans is way down on the list of priorities of the governing bodies which only serves to undermine some of the contentious decisions that are made. In cricket and rugby for example, the process is so much more informative.

 

On Saturday I travelled to Peterborough reassured by various statements that no pitch inspections were planned and that the match would go ahead. These are difficult economic times, and many fans stretch themselves to be able to travel to away games so making sure travelling fans do not incur unnecessary expense should be a priority, but it isn’t. The match referee called the game off just 90 minutes before kick-off, and it then emerged that one half of the pitch was frozen. Officials at Charlton claim they called Peterborough on a number of occasions over two days to check the game was on and were told it was not in doubt. 

 

Most groundsmen have an intimate knowledge of their pitches so how this situation can happen is incomprehensible.

 

To his credit, Peterborough Chairman Darragh MacAnthony has apologised and promised to instigate a review of all the circumstances including the poor communication throughout the week leading up to the game and on the day from his club officials. He has also committed to pay for coach travel for the away fans for the match on the re-arranged date. 

 

It is clear that football’s governing bodies need to establish clear and transparent rules around pitch inspections and postponements that take account of the costs incurred by travelling fans. If football continues to take fans for granted, it will suffer the consequences - financial and otherwise.

 

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